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Friday, October 18th, 2013

Airport weather update considered

By Amy Kronenberger

Former Neil Armstrong Airport Manager and part-time employee Gary Katterheinrich. . .

NEW KNOXVILLE - Neil Armstrong Airport manager Sean Stroh is looking into a program that would feed Auglaize County forecast data directly to the Weather Channel's "Local on the 8s."
The airport's weather system was last updated in 2008 and it may be time for an upgrade, Stroh told county commissioners Thursday. The current system isn't as efficient as it could be, he said.
"It's taking up-to-the-second weather conditions (at the airport) and broadcasting it, via radio waves to incoming aircraft," he said.
However, if a plane is not within line-of-sight of the airport or too far away, the pilot cannot receive the signal, he said.
Stroh said a program is available that streams the weather conditions via satellite directly to the control panel of an aircraft wherever the plane is located. The service also makes weather conditions available to news stations and cable companies for more localized forecasts.
New Knoxville Telephone and Cable Company could stream the information for use in "Local on the 8s" instead of the Lima weather conditions currently broadcasted, he said.
To set up the program, Stroh said he would have to purchase a box for $1,000 to stream the information and pay a monthly fee of about $80-$90.
The new system also would help Auglaize County Emergency Management Agency Director Troy Anderson during weather emergencies, Stroh noted.
"It's a good project to be involved (in)," commissioner Don Regula said.
Also during Thursday's meeting, Stroh said plans for annexation into the village of New Knoxville are progressing. Stroh and county commissioners are working to annex airport land to extend village utilities.  
Stroh has said the airport currently uses wells and septic systems and annexation would provide better quality utilities at a more affordable price.
Annexation is the first phase in constructing a proposed new $1.2 million terminal. Before annexation can take place, Stroh will work with county engineer Doug Reinhart to redraw the existing parcels to better represent the area of the airport.
Stroh said he already met with Reinhart and plans to take an aerial photograph of the airport to obtain a detailed drawing of the new parcels. Reinhart will then survey the area to officially mark the new plots.
Phase one of terminal construction also includes the design of utility and drainage work. Phase two is the actual construction, Stroh has said.
The construction of a new airport terminal has been in the works since 2006-2007, commissioner Doug Spencer said. If everything continues on schedule, utility construction will be complete in 2014-2015 and the terminal will be constructed in 2015 and 2016.
The project is being funded mostly by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA requires a 10 percent match for the grant, which will be paid from the airport's budget.
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